This Wednesday, November 20, Dark Horse Comics will release the newest addition to the I Am Legend canon: So I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse and All I Got was This Podcast, conceived and developed by Korey Hunt, screenwriter Chris Freeman, and writer/director Jonathan Appel (Sarah Quay joined the project after Jonathan’s untimely death in 2010).
Wikipedia has a nice write up of the I Am Legend book and the movies it inspired. I only have vague recollections of Last Man on Earth and Omega Man and I’ve never read the book, so I am far from an expert on the subject, but from what I’ve read So I Survived’s Mara Michaels and the Roberts (Morgan and Neville) share a common loneliness. They both want someone like themselves or someone like they remember.
So I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse and All I Got was This Podcast tells the story of Mara Mitchell, the lone human survivor in a world devastated by a zombifying virus. The twist in the story is that in this Zombie Apocalypse, there is a social hierarchy where women are on the top of the food chain. The women zombies hunt down male zombies as well as torment Mara.
Like the main characters derived from I Am Legend, Mara seeks companionship. She fills her empty days gardening and recording podcasts which she hopes someone will hear and comment on. Without giving too much away, my favorite part of So I Survived is when Mara finds the corpse of her friend, Lisa. She is depicted as newly dead, sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against a blood splattered wall, with a broken bottle in her hand. There is the familiar skull and crossbones drawn on the bottle that insinuates that Lisa drank poison to kill herself. Assuming that the virus that has changed everyone to zombies affects only the living, you can also assume that Lisa wanted to escape becoming a zombie.
Mara’s discovery of Lisa and the subsequent events provide the best illustration of the sort of dark somewhat surreal (though maybe more Dadaist than Surrealist) comedic writing in So I Survived. Mara’s desperation and loneliness drive her to do some pretty absurd and entertaining things. In the I Am Legend story and the retellings mentioned here, the main characters have always fought the non-humans and the “new humans”. Mara is the first to actually want to join them.
This comedic retelling of I Am Legend presents some interesting food for thought when compared against the moral message of the original (as described on Wikipedia):
He now sees that the infected view him with the same hatred and fear that he once felt for the vampires; he realizes that he, a remnant of old humanity, is now a legend to the new race born of the infection. He recognises that their desire to kill him is not something he can condemn. As the pills take effect, he thinks: “[I am] a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.”
If you are in Los Angeles this Wednesday, you have an opportunity to meet co-creators Korey Hunt and Chris Freeman at Meltdown Comics (7522 Sunset Blvd.) from 7pm – 9pm. Details are available on the Meltdown Comics blog.